Teenagers and Automobiles
Research also debunks some popular myths:
- Alcohol is a major cause of crashes involving the youngest drivers.
Only a tenth of 16-year old drivers in fatal crashes had alcohol in their systems, half the rate of drivers over age 25. Inexperience and poor judgment play a far greater role in new driver crashes.
- “My child is a better driver because she has taken driver’s ed” parents often say. A study published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found “no convincing evidence that high school driver education reduces motor vehicle crash-involvement rates.”
- “My child is responsible and a good student. She/He will be a good driver” is also often said.
- Driving is a complex psychomotor task that requires practice and development of key skills, just as tennis or playing the piano does. Experience and practice is vital.
- The biggest threat to teens is substance abuse.
Motor-vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens, accounting for 36% of deaths of people 15 to 19 and 41% of deaths of 16-year-olds in 1997.